Writing the past two articles got me thinking as to what successful business people had to, at some point, seek bankruptcy protection. Starting with the highest office in our country, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, and Thomas Jefferson all had to utilize some form of bankruptcy protection at some point. As did our current president. So, five people who were successful enough to become president of the United States needed bankruptcy protection at some point.
Some of the greatest entrepreneurs in this country also had to seek bankruptcy protection. The list includes Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Milton Hershey, H.J. Heinz, and P.T. Barnum. All of these individuals are ingrained in our country’s history as classic rags to riches stories. Without the protections of bankruptcy, it is doubtful the outcomes would have been the same.
…one has to wonder how many farms could have been saved by a more timely decision to seek protection.
My humble opinion is that knowing when to seek protection is something that should be admired, not frowned upon. For many, getting through the gambit of emotions when deciding to utilize chapter 12 is probably the hardest part of the Chapter 12 process. But, deciding to seek protection early on will likely ensure that the point of no return is not reached. Once the decision to seek protection is reached, as explained in the prior two articles, the process is rather straight forward and mechanical. Since Chapter 12 was created, one has to wonder how many farms could have been saved by a more timely decision to seek protection.
In closing, when contemplating whether to utilize Chapter 12 protection, a producer should focus on the business element of the decision. Human emotions such as pride, reputation, and otherwise should probably take a back seat. Simply stated, focus needs to be on keeping the farm in business. After all, if some of the most famous and successful people in the history of this country have had to seek protection, this says a lot about the benefits of the law, and shows that even the best of us may need financial protection at some point.
John J. Schwarz, II, is a lifelong farmer and farms with his family near Stroh, in Northeast Indiana and has been an agricultural law attorney for 12 years. He can be reached at 260-351-4440, our contact form, or visit him at www.farmlegacy.com.
These articles are for general informational purposes only and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.